Tuesday, June 9, 2009

Horse Trading...

Some people have it in their blood... The Rancher's dad is one. I'm another. I love to horse shop, but it often means selling one or two in order to get what I want. Sometimes it works out great, and other times, not-so-much.... the jury is still out on this one. Here's what I've been up to...
With the advent of Spring we no longer needed to feed cows with the Belgians. To further the education of our team the Rancher completed the "stone boat", a low clearance sled that will be handy in picking up hay from the field, and feeding it in the winter. On dry gravel it makes a horrid screeching noise! Bowers and Barney handled it all in stride... kind of tough to run off with this thing anyway!

We even gave the Biggest Cowgirl, and the Redheaded Cowgirl some driving lessons! They really liked that!

While we have learned a lot and really enjoyed our BIG team, they are..well... BIG!

For a neat comparison here is the Biggest Cowgirl with the Littlest Pony (one she was "training" for a friend) and the Biggest Draft Horse - aka Bowers!

Being somewhat practical minded folks... we thought that if we had a smaller team we could ride them as well as drive them. So we advertised our big team for sale. Barney sold first to a carriage company in Ft Collins, CO wear he will be giving carriage rides downtown! We'll even be able to visit. So Bowers was here on his own for a while. Necessity got us to hitch him to the cart as a single....

He is a gorgeous animal! We never got the picture "just right" to show how much action he has in his feet, but it was really fun to watch. We hooked the cart to the pasture harrow to spread the manure from the winter feed ground.

Bowers has found a home as part of a team here in Wyoming. He will not have to work too hard, he'll mostly be used for "fun" stuff and a little bit of farming. His new teammate "Duke" is a good match. He's HUGE (heavier, not taller), a little darker, but a nice matching blaze. They'll look really sharp!

Sooooo, this is where I got to go shopping! (I'd MUCH rather horse shop than go to the mall!) I had spent quite a bit of time over the winter researching "small draft horses". I got really interested in the Haflinger breed. The are little... shorter than most of our quarter horses. But STOUT! They probably outweigh our quarter horses. They are very strong, gentle, and used for farming, parades, and often as kids riding horses. So I started looking....

I found lots of teams in the Midwest, but getting them here seemed a challenge. Eventually I found three registered Haflingers for sale in Colorado. The three were a package deal, at a good price. Two mares, mother and daughter, and a stallion! So with the potential of 5 haflingers come next spring, we made the deal. Getting them here was easy, but NOT simple!

The gal who owned them lived about two hours south of Craig, where we attended church when we lived in the area. She was able to deliver them to Craig immediately. We were already planning to attend a wedding in Craig a few weeks later. So I just needed to find a place to keep them for a few weeks, in order to combine the trip for the wedding and retrieving our new horses. Pastor T and Miss Debby don't own horses, but they do own about 35 acres surrounded by tall "elk" fence. So the horses were delivered there, and Pastor graciously took pictures and sent them to us.

Eclair of Forte - aka "Lilly"

Enchantress of Kildue - aka "Peanut"

Nevado - aka "Little Bit"

Finally, the time arrived and the Three Cowgirls and I headed out with truck and trailer... We delivered Bowers on the way (well, several hours out of the way, but that's life!) enjoyed the wedding, paid the Pastor's pasture bill (say that five times fast!) with a bottle of Scotch, visited, stayed for church on Sunday, and loaded our new horses and brought them home!

While visiting a friend down there, we also acquired a milk goat, "Star" and her doeling kid which the Cowgirls dubbed "Twinkle". Not a surprising twist if you know me at all! LOL!!!



Little Bit and his Girls!

And since we always like a good challenge.... Here's the stats on the new horses. Lilly is 8, and was broke to drive but hasn't been used for some time. Peanut, Lilly's 3 year old daughter, is halter broke. Little Bit, who we gelded this week, is 5 and broke to ride but has only been ground driven. All this means we are back in the training business! Oiy!!!! Plus learning how to milk a goat!!!

Maybe bringing a nice, proven, broke team from the mid-west wouldn't have been so hard after all! But it's okay, I'm already in love with these delightful little horses! They are smart, friendly and beautiful!

"Never a dull moment" is an understatement!